2016 will introduce a wide range of new laptop technologies to the market.
If you’re planning to buy a laptop this year, then you need at least a basic understanding of these technologies.
Today, we’re going to introduce you to 4 important things you need to consider before buying a laptop in 2016.
4) Intel Core M Processors
Intel’s Core M processors are a pretty big deal in notebook technology.
The new “M” designation is a specific type of Intel processor designed for mobile devices. In terms of performance and power consumption, it’s somewhere between the Atom and Core i3.
Should you consider the Core M if you’re buying a laptop? Here’s a basic overview of the three types of Intel processors you’re likely to encounter in laptops this year:
-Atom: These processors are typically found in netbooks and lower-end devices.
-Core i3, i5, and i7: Higher-level processors (especially the i5 and i7), moving up to desktop-grade as you get further up the line.
-Core M: Core M processors are designed to be more powerful than the Atom without consuming significantly more power than the Atom. You’ll notice a performance drop in high-end applications, but the processor has a miniscule TDP of less than 5 watts.
Ultimately, if you’re not using your laptop for video processing or other processor-intensive tasks, then the Core M is a great mobile processor for browsing, streaming video, and basic work applications.
3) External GPU Enclosures on Laptops
One of the biggest problems with gaming laptops is that high-end video cards are simply too big, too battery-intensive, and too hot to feasibly be used in a small laptop.
This year, laptop manufacturers have come together to solve this problem. A number of manufacturers are releasing external GPU enclosures that can be paired with laptops to allow users to use full, desktop-grade graphics cards with their laptops.
These enclosures can be paired with any laptop to provide desktop-grade gaming performance. We don’t know pricing details on these enclosures yet, but expect it to be a popular niche product for gaming laptop manufacturers this year.
2) Tablet / Laptop Hybrids
We’ve seen tablet and laptop hybrids for a few years now, but they’ll continue growing more mainstream in 2016.
Devices like the Surface Book changed the way people looked at these hybrids in 2015. Released in late 2015, the Surface Book was a full-powered notebook with a detachable display allowing you to use it independently as a tablet.
If you would like a conventional laptop for most applications, but could also use a tablet for some applications, then these hybrids could be a great solution.
You might use your laptop all day for work, for example, and then detach the display later to mess around on your “tablet” in front of the TV.
1) New USB Standards
USB 3.1 now allows data transfer rates similar to Thunderbolt. USB Type-C, however, blows USB 3.1 out of the water with high power delivery (up to 100W) and a reversible connector, which means you can plug it in however you like (which is great for all of us who have to flip their USB three times to make it fit correctly).
Practically speaking, USB Type-C and 3.1 will allow faster charging for laptops and tablets while offering a greater range of support for monitors and other peripherals.